The Villa des Arts, which houses a set of artists’ workshops, is situated at the foot of the Butte Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. It has just undergone a major renovation, managed by architects Grégoire Oudin (APGO) and Bertrand Naut (abn). In this site steeped in history and culture, which has welcomed some of the greatest artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, the question of how renovation is undertaken is critically important. Although a contemporary approach was adopted for the redevelopment, it was necessary to protect this architectural landmark and to preserve and restore its framework, its character and its spirit.
The character and typology of the housing was preserved, even where space was divided. As far as possible, all of the rooms, large or small, have retained a simple décor, including plaster ceilings with cornices and decorative plasterwork, false panels, fireplaces, parquet and terracotta floors. To make the housing more comfortable and in line with modern living standards, the kitchens and bathrooms were upgraded and transferred to the existing service and clearance areas, which have been opened up to provide more natural light.
The workshop mezzanines originally gave the artists additional space and allowed them to have a functioning area below, including an entrance, a small living area and their own toilet. Over the years, this layout has changed: the mezzanines were extended, divided or closed. It seemed necessary to rethink the layout by opening up, reducing and restoring the original character of the mezzanines which give onto the workshops, and by allowing natural light, which is a feature of these rooms, back in. The few original mezzanines were restored, while a contemporary approach was used for the new ones (including perforated metal) in compliance with current safety standards.
Façades and glass roofs
The façades, on the whole well maintained, were reworked slightly in order to restore them to their original state or to improve comfort for building occupants (better light, shading, etc.) However, the architectural character of the façades was lost due the condition of most of the glass roofs and windows, which were either dilapidated or restored using aluminium or PVC. Due to the level of comfort required today and the intended use of the workshops, detailed research was carried out to find a way to repair the façades using aluminium profiles which would allow the delicate ironwork and rhythmical pattern to be retained, by giving the building double-glazed insulating glass units.Location: Paris, France Contractor: RIVP
Project owner: Ville de Paris
Project management: APGO lead architect, ABN associated architect
Project manager: Frédéric Batisse Programme: renovation of the Villa des Arts: construction of 36 social housing units and 47 artists’ workshops. Area: 6 190 sq. m net floor area
Cost of works: 9 560 000 € HT
step 1: july 2012
step 2: january 2014
Photos: Herve Abbadie